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C. S. Lewis and the Catholic Church Paperback – December 1, 2003
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C.S.Lewis was a great writer but a lot went into the movement of his pen.I wanted to know what that was so this was the book which settled that hunger for me.
"Exactly how close to the Catholic position was he? Did his occasional outbursts against the veneration of the saints or the primacy of the Pope signify an overriding Protestant bias, or did his quest for 'orthodoxy' and his antagonism towards modernism, relativism, and other forms of Christianity-and-water suggest a strong tendency in the direction of Catholic Christianity?"
What I liked:
The book reads almost like a mystery. Looking at clues and following leads and discovering new trails that lead to Lewis' position. Being a Lewis fan I still was not aware of where Lewis settled concerning the Catholic Church so it was enjoyable to read.
What I didn't like: It was slow at first and more biographical in the beginning than I was expecting but I think this was necessary in order to give the readers some context.
Overall if you are a C.S. Lewis fan and enjoy his writings you will enjoy this book. If you are not familiar with his writings it might be better to read some of Lewis' stuff before jumping into this one.
Joseph Pearce's book is the first exception I have encountered. Pearce focuses on an aspect of Lewis' writing which is genuinely ambiguous - his relationship to the Catholic Church. Reared in the Ulster Protestant milieu, he had a revulsion to Roman Catholicism, which never completely left him. Yet, "papists" (e.g., Chesterton and Tolkien) played a major role in his conversion. And he embraced distinctively Catholic doctrines such as purgatory, the Blessed Sacrament and the impossibility of female priests.
Pearce asks why Lewis never became a Catholic - and whether, like many of his disciples, he would have, if he had lived longer. Although the questions cannot finally be answered, Pearce's lively attempt sheds light on a major aspect of Lewis' thought.
What gave Lewis trepidation concerning a move closer to the Catholic Church? While he does mention concern with certain Marian doctrines and elements of church authority,I think Joseph Pearce's insights into the man give us a distinct possibility for his inability to ford the Tiber. Based on the letters of C.S. Lewis and other writings of his, I also would suggest that verses such as Romans 14:21 played an important role. He understood that he was an important religious figure to all Christians, and he did not want to do anything to make his brother stumble, or to jeopardize the wide acceptance of his works. Our motivations for any serious undertaking are seldom black and white, but frequently of a more interwoven nature. While we can't know with any certainty what was within Lewis' heart, it is clear that his concept of faith and the church mirrored most significant aspect of the Catholic Church.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to have a fuller understanding of Lewis' spirtual life. He takes a long look at who Lewis was and what he held true.
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I bought this book because I am a fan of C.S. Lewis, and still continue to read his writings.Read more